Kingdom of Purplaya By: Cecil Rajendra
The Kingdom of Purplaya
Its people are of mixed origins:
Most Purplayans were immigrants
who live up in the mountains
These natives - true sons of the
claiming that they are the original
To ensure their privileges in
drew up a farcical Constitution
They implemented a quota system
stuffed ranks of Police &
and legislated that any question
These self-anointed 'purple people'
to libel enemies in their papers
face torture & imprisonment
Still, this apartheid autocracy
harbours pretensions extraordinary
Purple or not-racism is everywhere
7:33pm, Sat: Admittedly, I have never been a fan of Cecil
In the case of the (by now) infamous purple poem, I have only had
Let me tell you that I've had it up to my nose with this portrayal of
I cannot recall the many times when even my ability to speak English
Sorry, don't mean to be rude, but it was good enough before I went,
To me, the incredulity smells of something deeper, something more
Oh, believe you me, it doesn't take much to uncover it. In casual
The undertow is always that the Malays are a hopeless lot. That's
Sure, I can understand the unhappiness (to put it mildly) of people
I would be one to admit the NEP is racist in nature, and I wouldn't
But if anything, I'm afraid Cecil Rajendra's poem seems to have
Because isn't this what is meant by the thrust of the poem, when it
It's not 'give me the chance to prove that I am as good as you', but
If it's universal inequality that Cecil Rajendra really seeks, then why not also rail against the behaviour of non-'purple' folks who protect their own interests through unofficial forms of discrimination?
How about the practice of giving 25 percent discount to non-'purple' retailers and at most 15 percent to 'purple' ones, and then telling them to compete in an open market? Or, when faced with two job candidates - one non-'purple' and the other 'purple' - both with equal qualifications, giving the job to the former even when the other has more experience? Or not giving 'purple' executives the opportunity to rise beyond, say, assistant manager?
Ring a bell, anyone?
So prove me wrong - please! - when I say that we are all racist and there can never be true equality, anytime, anywhere. Unless Cecil Rajendra has been to the blessed Utopian Atlantis that us mere mortals have no knowledge of.
Yes, we can spend all day playing tit for tat. You say this and I counter with that. But, ultimately, what's the point? We might as well direct the energy towards creating an environment that is sufficiently acceptable to most of us, and then try to live as happily as we can along each other.
The colour purple
2:24pm, Thu: When I read Mazeni Alwi's letter reacting to Cecil Rajendra's poem entitled The Kingdom of Purplaya, I was saddened that many misunderstood the meaning or the implications of the creative piece ('It hurts, Mr Rajendra', May 1). The writer claims of injustice towards Malays. And harsh though the statements by Teras and Pemenang, they still don't picture the real meaning of the poem. Out of curiosity, if the Kingdom of Purplaya really mirrors Malaysia, how far can any of these parties deny the truth in it?
While we can claim that our racial harmony and tolerance level is
very high, the reality is this can only be attributed to the older
The present government continues to create an unstable future for us. Policies are made not for the long run, but to correct current problems. The ruling party frequently quashes minority rights. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself in his speech in Dubai recently said that fighting for democracy might create countries where the minorities will voice out for their rights. If a Malay leader speaks in this manner, how can anyone suppose that there will be racial harmony under his leadership?
The truth about the people of Malaysia and their living conditions
are never revealed in the open. I will try to relate my experience and
feelings. Just a month ago when the racial clashes were hot news and
KL was a dangerous place for Indians, we did not see any clashes in
other parts of the country. Indians and Chinese still ate at Malays
stalls and Malays and Chinese still shopped at Indian stores around
the country. So the situation in KL is pictured as an isolated incident.
But how many people out there especially Malays saw or understood what
the Indians felt? Every single day, reading the reports of the
But every time news of injustice to my people appears in the newspapers,
I burn in anger and resentment towards the Malay
The government never understood the Indian community, unlike the ruling governments before Mahathir, who were much kinder to us. The Indians in Malaysia today are very marginalised. We have 40 percent of the hardcore poor in Malaysia. So how can we claim that the people of Malaysia are taken care of equally?
The so-called representative of the Indians, the Malaysian Indian Congress doesn't even try to help the people. One just wonders where the money and funding that the government approves go to. As far as the Indian community is concerned, the money is safe in MIC president S Samy Vellu's pocket.
A few months ago the government approved millions of ringgit for the Tamil schools in the country. Where did the money go now? How can a community have a large percentage of hardcore poor but its leader under the dictatorship of the PM lives lavishly? What some people see as championing the cause for the Indian community is hidden from the real ugly truth. The Indian national leaders never care about the community. Just like the many parties under the ruling coalition, MIC is just another tool to amass money and material wealth. The dream of serving the people under the banner of MIC is just another reason to go after the unseen advantages the party offers.
If anyone takes a trip to the estates, they can see for themselves the deplorable conditions the Indians live in. My family came from a rubber estate just like any other Indians but now we are leading a much better life in the town. When we fight for monthly wages and basic amenities, the government took its time to look into the matter. MIC seems to take forever completing its reports and when other groups take the initiative to produce reports regarding the community the party leaders are fast to shoot it down.
The education situation is not much better. Indian students are subjected to biased marks and evaluation. In the Eighth Malaysia Plan recently presented to Parliament, the PM wants more non-Malays to join the public sector. The reality is there are more Indians in the public sector than the private sector and the government is not doing any better to improve their condition. My generation will surely jump into the private sector where they are more liberal towards the Indians.
The Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional loan for students is more like a life-long bonding to the government. But where else can Indian students look for education loans? MIC provides loans under its education loan initiative but the truth is only Samy's staunch supporters and cronies' children get it.
So, I ask again, can any of the critics of Rajendra's poem deny if the content really implies the Malaysian situation, even remotely? My community is suppressed and denied its rights by the government. The PM's move to put the community under MIC is another example of how casually the government treats Indian rights. We never march on the streets asking for equal rights. We don't even get the basic rights that the Malays get. With all this, how can a racially tolerant nation be formed?
Maybe this country will survive for a few more years. But there will come a time when we, too, will fight openly for our rights. Maybe the current generation has forgotten the history of our Independence. All the races agreed for the rights underlined by the constitution because we dreamt of an Independent country. The clearly discriminated race then were the Malays. Under the goodwill of all the races, we came out of colonial rule only to be plunged into something worse.
Malaysia is fast marching into a new age of globalisation and the people are still blinded by racial issues that are brought up in the government-controlled media. The people should learn the truth themselves. They should go out and see for themselves what's really happening out there.
When many Malay development projects are vying for bumiputra-only communities, how can any unity be achieved. If the economy, education and society continue to be divided between bumiputra and non-bumiputra categories how can anyone be expected to practise racial acceptance?
Even when the country is going through a great deal of change, and even when tough discrimination against my community or any other minority community is evident, I am still very proud to be Malaysian. This is the country where I was born, the country that has been my home for the past 20 years and the country where many of my unforgettable memories lie.
What I really hope is for a better future, where my community will not be subjected to ignorance and where other races will respect my community as any other community in Malaysia. Only then will I support or fight for racial unity, when the minority races are given their due rights and when every race is ready for equal rights.